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I’m Glad to Report I Got the Brazilian Music Bug

Luca Mundaca
I must confess that almost a decade ago when I moved to New York, I had a very small collection of Brazilian music among my many CDs (a total of about 300 back then). There were a couple of discs by Caetano Veloso, Rita Lee, Lulu Santos, Chico Buarque, a handful of bossa nova classics and little else.

The reason for that was that while I was living in Brazil, I had developed almost no interest in Brazilian music mostly because during my formative years (around the mid-80s into the early 90s) radio stations there were not really concentrating on broadcasting their own music – on the airwaves you heard stuff like Queen, Yes, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson and other names I cannot recall right now.

The only Brazilian music on the radio then was mostly bad, forgettable pop – artists like Djavan, Buarque, Gilberto Gil, Milton Nascimento and Tom Jobim and others were relegated to more dedicated stations, even though fans abroad could not get enough of them.

Though much of that changed in the mid-80s (which gave us Paralamas do Sucesso, Barão Vermelho, Legião Urbana, Titãs and Kid Abelha) as the wave of democracy invaded the country, I was still a bit reluctant to follow local artists – partially because I had become a bit of a music snob and also because as the 90s came to a close, the airwaves were filled with stuff like pagode and Axé Music – commercial stuff that had little or no appeal to me unless I was on the street during Carnaval with a few shots of cachaça in my system.

All of that changed when I relocated to New York in the fall of 2000. Once free from Brazilian Top 40, I began to discover (with considerable influence from friends) that there was some great music being played here that was not even really known there – names such as Eliane Elias, Bebel Gilberto, Forró In The Dark, Luca Mundaca, Trio da Paz, Luciana Souza, who all have thriving careers away from home. Discovering them helped me find new affection to the music from the country I sort of left behind.

Today, my Brazilian collection dwarfs all the other CDs I have at home (and yes, I still buy a lot – it’s not all promos). I own most of the relevant recordings of the bossa era and records by both the great masters as the artists I discovered in recent years.

I also have been attending more Brazilian-related shows and writing more and more about their musicians and the music they make. Just in the past three weeks, I have seen Pandeiro Jazz, Gal Costa and Milton Nascimento… heck, I even started a bossa nova band!

Ernest Barteldes is a freelance writer based on Staten Island, New York. He can be reached at ebarteldes@yahoo.com.

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  • Show Comments (9)

  • MdC Suingue

    A present for ASP
    Hey ASP,
    have a look on my podcast page, I re-issued the episode with the bootleg of Coco RaÀƒ­zes do Arco-Verde.
    It’s in the second half of the episode South Migration, which begins with a coverage of the Notting Hill Carnival.
    Enjoy!

  • MdC Suingue

    ASP
    Actually, we made a programme in 2007 in which the main focus was on a bootleg of a live gig of Coco Raizes do Arcoverde.
    Unfortunately we had to take it out from our site to save some storage space.
    Keep an eye on our site, we will soon re-issue this episode.

    You can find a track by Coco RaÀƒ­zes Do Arco Verde in this episode: http://cas.podomatic.com/entry/2008-03-16T19_27_48-07_00

    At the bottom of the page you can find a ‘NEXT PAGE’ link where you can explore the playlist of yet more shows in our archives.
    .
    I’ll dedicate to you a Coco Raizes do Arco Verde track in the next show
    😉

  • MdC Suingue

    P.O.V.
    [b]”these people talk about past the mainstream, but they dont know what to look for”[/b]
    .
    ASP, who exactly are [b]’these people’ [/b] that you are talking about?
    .

  • MdC Suingue

    Brazilian Music Beyond The ClichÀƒ©s
    ItÀ‚´s a blessing to be free from the Brazilian top 40s, and it’s surely a a good first step.
    To begin to look beyond the brazilian market is a nice follow up too.
    Now you are almost ready to embrace the whole beauty and diversity of
    BRAZILIAN MUSIC BEYOND THE CLICHÀƒ‰S.
    The past, the present and the future of Brazilian Music in one click
    [url]www.CAS.podomatic.com[/url]

  • asp

    fantastic, mdc, coco raiz is going deep into some roots
    ill definitly take a deeper look into your site

    there may be some info i may want to contact you about

    about coco raiz, for me they are like living snapshots of something that was developed in the colonial times in brazil…their melodies hint at blues from the usa or a calypso happy melody from jamaica….with their own beat and their three front dancers remind me of a short i saw of the nicholas brothers with dorthy dandredge

    you got to hear the recent aurinha de coco cd…

    keep up the good work

  • asp

    dont worry mdc, i saw your nice selection
    but also look for some aurinha de coco and coco raiz de arco verde, it will fit in well with your choices

  • asp

    these you tubes are bad examples
    i expected more from luciana de souza…but what was on there is watered down bossa

    the rhythm section isnt cutting the real rio feeling , especialy the bass and drums

    one of the best buys i ever made of brazilian music was in salvador airport. i paid 100 reals for the box set of elza soares, all of her early records, which is a whole bunch. there was so much treasure

    these people talk about past the mainstream, but they dont know what to look for

    they wont tell you about aurinha de coco ,or coco raiz de arco verde, or nacao pernambuco, or gilson peranzzetta or paulo russo

    you want to feel real brazilian music ? get early elza , or clara nunes,or early alcione , paulinho de viola , berrerha de silva,

    unfortunatly they will never know the music of luizao maia who died before he could get it recorded

  • fried chc

    Borrrrrrrrrrrring……..
    Who Cares!!!

    Costinha

  • snooker

    Beauty of Brazil
    The only thing I love more than the music is the women of Brazil…and well they are music.

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